Accessibility walk sparks conversation about Rochester's pedestrian infrastructure

Attendees tried low-visibility simulation goggles and wheelchairs.

Posted: May 7, 2019 7:27 PM
Updated: May 8, 2019 6:28 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - On Tuesday, Olmsted County Public Health Statewide Health Improvement Partnership hosted an accessibility walk in downtown Rochester. 24 participants walked from the Rochester Public Library to the People's Food Co-op and back, about 1.14 miles total.

Participants were composed of representatives from the City of Rochester, Rochester Public Works, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota AARP, Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living , ARC Minnesota, and Rochester's Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, and community members who have disabilities.

The attendees who do not have a disability wore low-vision simulation goggles and wheelchairs during the walk to get a sense of navigating downtown through that perspective.

"it's really important for people who don't have a disability who especially design and are influential in the design of the navigation of our cities because they're the people that are going to be making the design decisions down the road and we want them to be equipped with as much information as possible so that they can design the most inclusive space," says Kjensmo Walker, a disability advocate and accessibility expert who led the walk.

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